The Śrīmālā Sūtra (full title: Śrīmālādevī-siṃha-nāda-sūtra) is one of the main early Mahayana Buddhist texts that taught the doctrines of tathagatagarbha and the Single Vehicle, through the words of the Indian Queen Śrīmālā. It was translated to Chinese in 436 CE by Gunabhadra (394-468). It was later translated into English by Alex and Hideko Wayman as The Lion’s Roar of Queen Srimala.
The sutra teaches the reality of an ultimate, immaculate Consciousness within each living being, which is the Buddhic “Dharmakaya” (essence of Truth), which is yet temporarily sheathed in obscuring defilement. This Dharmakaya, when viewed as intrinsically free from spiritual ignorance, is said to constitute Eternity, Bliss, the Self and Purity in their perfect state. The great Queen Srimala, empowered by the Buddha to teach the Dharma, affirms:
“.. the Dharmakaya of the Buddha has the perfection of permanence, the perfection of pleasure, the perfection of Self, the perfection of purity. Whatever sentient beings see the Dharmakaya of the Tathagata that way, see correctly. Whoever see correctly are called the sons of the Lord born from his heart, born from his mouth, born from the Dharma, who behave as manifestation of Dharma and as heirs of Dharma.” (The Lion’s Roar of Queen Srimala, p. 102).
The sutra has significantly contributed to the Mahayana notion of the permanent, steadfast and eternal “Tathagatagarbha” (Buddha-Matrix), which is nothing less than the perfect Dharmakaya temporarily concealed by (ultimately unreal) mental contaminants.
There is some debate as to whether or not the tathagatagarbha constitutes true self or not.
- Mahaparinirvana Sutra
- Tathagatagarbha Sutra
- Tathagatagarbha doctrine
- The Lion’s Roar of Queen Srimala (Motilal, Delhi 1974), tr. by A. and H. Wayman